Software for your Emulated 68K Macintosh

NOTE: There is a MUCH BETTER version of this file in our wiki. Please check it out for a larger collection of 68k software

(Updated 28 August, 2008)


Tragically, developers have stopped creating software that will run on a 68K Macintosh. But thankfully, old Mac aficionados have some options. What follows is a list of software that will run on your emulated Macintosh. I'm a big fan or System 7.5.5 (which is free), so I've only listed software that is compatible with it. These have all been tested to work in Basilisk II, though they should be okay in SoftMac and FUSION.

System Software...

Before you can run anything, you will need some System Software. Download the System 7.5.3 installation software direct from Apple. There is a guide that can tell you what to do with those files over here. You can also update to System 7.5.5. The easiest way to update is to use the "Net Install," which is just a single disk.

To run some software in System 7, you will need to first install Appearance Manager. Most software does not require this, although it can make your System 7 user interface much prettier. The download is of version 1.0.4. Pay careful attention to the readme before installing.

System 7.5.5 with Appearance Manager 1.0.4
System 7.5.5, with some visual tweaks provided by Appearance Manager 1.0.4


You need to use Stuffit Expander 5.5 to expand archived files. If you use HFV Explorer to transfer that file to your disk image, you can solve the problem of expanding the archive of Stuffit in the first place.

Internet Software...

For some help getting online within your emulated Macintosh, check out the guide. Once you have it all set up, the best browser option is iCab 2.9.9. It's the only 68K browser that has been updated in modern times (2006). It doesn't support everything used in the modern web, however, and some pages load a little bit garbled. Contrary to what the readme file says, the browser does not have an expiration date. You can use it forever.

A back-up web browser might be Netscape Communicator 4.08. Version 4.08 was the last 68k compatible version of Netscape. If you try to install in System 7.5.5 the installer will throw up an error message. You should first install Apple's CFM-68K Runtime Enabler and just hit "continue" when you see the error.

iCab 2.99
iCab 2.9.9 running in System 7

My favorite IRC client for the older Macintosh is MacIRC (68k) 0.9.6. It is very simple and lightweight... perfect for System 7. The official MacIRC page has been offline for years now, but you can still check out the documentation via Meanwhile, there is guide to using MacIRC to access your Instant Messenger clients (Google Talk, MSN, etc) over here

An alternative to MacIRC is Ircle, which is more feature-rich and is still maintained.


My all-time favorite piece of software for the 68K Macintosh is MpegDec 3.11. It's a wonderful MP3 player, and is very light-weight. It even plays online streaming audio. Stop by a site like Shoutcast and download the ".pls" file and drag it onto the player as you would an MP3. It works! Check out the official page for more information.


If you do a Google search for "Macintosh Abandonware," there is a really good chance that the first result that shows up will have lots of great stuff. Meanwhile, some of your old shareware favorites are still a lot of fun.

The shareware episodes of both Doom and Duke Nukem 3D run very well in the emulated 68K Macintosh. The default graphic settings for both can be adjusted - the emulated Macintosh will let you crank both games up to maximum.

I also like the shareware game Space Junkie a whole lot. It's simple and addictive arcade style fun. A more complex game to check out would be Ambrosia Software's legendary Escape Velocity, which runs wonderfully in Basilisk. There are a few notes about running Escape Velocity in an emulated Macintosh over at this link.

Doom Shareware in Basilisk
You got the shotgun?


For more System 7 compatible software, check out System 7 Today. The Macintosh section of Old Apps is also good if you are looking for a specific version of a program. For more information, please visit my emulation forum. You can contact me with questions and suggestions by e-mail.